Scripture: Exodus 12:1-14
Key Verse(s): Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. (v. 3-4)
Observation: God resets time for the Israelites. God speaks to Moses and Aaron informing them that the Israelite calendar and sense of time is changed. A new era is about to begin as God brings the tenth and final plague against Egypt so that Pharaoh finally releases Israel from enslavement. This event will become the basis of the Passover festival and the Exodus event becomes the fundamental event in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). In verse 12 we read that God will strike down the first born in all the land of Egypt both human and animal unless the blood of an unblemished lamb (sheep or goat) is found on the doorposts and lintel. This new era begins with a hasty meal, cooked quickly, and with the Israelites ready to travel to their freedom. God instructs the Israelites to remember this night by turning the meal and the telling of these events into a perpetually annual event.
Analysis: Israel’s liberation begins with a family meal. The basis of the Israelites coming out of the bondage of slavery is the reformation of the family. The experience of being an enslaved people apparently damaged Israel’s image of the family. God resets the nature and importance of the family making this family meal integral to remembering and celebrating the Exodus event. Family is not limited to blood relatives as families are encouraged to join with neighbors when necessary to eat an entire lamb eliminating waste. Through the Exodus event the nation of Israel becomes one family and through baptism Christians are adopted into the family. Each local congregation, based on biology and also faith, serves as a family so that we can pass the faith down to the next generation in perpetuity.
Prayers: God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we are so grateful that you invite us to be part of your family. Help us to remember your wonderful works in our lives; works that bring us liberation from the things that enslave us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.